Quick Clean Cat Fountains. The Top 3 Easiest to Maintain


Cats are notoriously picky about their water sources. In the wild, they instinctively avoid still water to prevent illness. This instinct remains for domestic cats, who often shun standing water in bowls. They are drawn to moving water, which is fresher and mimics natural streams or ponds. Cats that drink more water have better kidney health and lower risk of urinary tract disease. Water fountains provide a healthy way to encourage cats to drink adequate amounts of water.

But with any water source, cleanliness is critical. Bacteria, fungus, and algae can accumulate in fountains, contaminating the water. Mineral deposits from tap water also build up over time. An unclean fountain defeats the purpose of providing fresh water for cats. To keep cats hydrated, it’s essential to sanitize and descale fountains on a regular schedule. Choosing an easy-to-clean fountain from the start makes this task more manageable.

Types of Cat Water Fountains

There are three main types of cat water fountains:

Gravity Water Dispensers

Gravity water dispensers work by utilizing gravity to move water from a reservoir down into a collecting bowl. The water flows down through a spout and filters through a charcoal or foam filter on its way to the bowl [1]. These fountains don’t require electricity and are very quiet. However, the water flow rate is slower and more limited compared to other types of fountains.

Pump Fountains

Pump fountains use an electric submersible pump to actively circulate water from a reservoir up into a flowing stream that pours down into the collecting bowl. The pump provides a consistent flow of freshly filtered water. These fountains offer adjustable flow rates and filters. They require access to an electrical outlet.

Circulating Fountains

Circulating fountains are a type of pump fountain where the water flows through a ramp or decorative tower back into the reservoir instead of just streaming into a bowl. The circulating water provides oxygenation. These fountains are attractive but can be noisy. They also have more nooks for buildup so require frequent cleaning [2].

Key Factors for Cleanability

When choosing a cat water fountain that is easy to clean, there are three main factors to consider:

Size and Shape

The size and shape of the fountain can affect how easy it is to access all areas for cleaning. Compact, shallower fountains tend to be easier to fully submerge and scrub. Fountains with a simple bowl or ramp design also allow for easy cleaning access.

Number of Parts

Fountains with fewer removable parts and uncomplicated designs require less disassembly and reassembly for cleaning. Models with dishwasher safe components are also easier to maintain.

According to Kittyspout, dishwashable parts “allow cat parents to quickly clean the fountain without scrubbing.”

Material and Surface Texture

The material a fountain is made from affects how easily grime and biofilm can build up. Smooth materials like ceramic and stainless steel tend to resist sticking. Plastic can be more prone to slimy buildup.

The surface texture also matters – fountains with grooves, gaps, or crevices can trap gunk while smooth-surfaced fountains make cleaning easier.

Top 3 Easiest to Clean

When choosing a cat water fountain, ease of cleaning should be a top priority. A fountain that’s difficult to disassemble and clean leaves room for bacteria and mold to grow. Here are 3 cat fountains known for their easy cleanability:

[Fountain 1]

The [Fountain 1] features a simple 2-piece design that makes cleaning a breeze. The plastic reservoir detaches easily from the pump housing for quick cleaning. The wide opening allows you to easily scrub inside and access corners. All parts are dishwasher safe as well.

[Fountain 2]

The [Fountain 2] also has a 2-piece construction that separates into a fountain base and water bowl. The smooth surfaces and seamless bowl lack nooks and crannies where gunk can build up. The fountain comes apart without any tricky locking mechanisms or parts that are hard to dislodge.

[Fountain 3]

This 3-tier fountain comes apart into several pieces for thorough cleaning. The bowls stack and detach from the base, and the whole pump housing lifts out. With no long or narrow tubes, you can easily reach every surface. The plastic and ceramic pieces clean up nicely in the dishwasher.

Tips for Cleaning Cat Fountains

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping cat fountains hygienic and functioning properly. The frequency of cleaning depends on factors like the number of cats using the fountain and the quality of your local water supply.

Plastic fountains should be scrubbed with warm, soapy water at least once a week. Use a soft brush or sponge to gently clean the pump and other nooks and crannies where biofilm can accumulate. Metal and ceramic fountains can be cleaned with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for a natural, pet-safe cleaning solution. Allow all parts to air dry fully before reassembling the fountain.

To deep clean, disassemble the fountain completely and scrub all components. Target buildup around the pump, in tube connectors, and along any textured surfaces. For tough mineral deposits, fill the reservoir with vinegar and let it soak for 15-30 minutes before scrubbing. Check manufacturer instructions for any special cleaning recommendations. Proper disassembly, scrubbing, and drying helps keep cat fountains fresh.

As cited from https://www.paskapoopetservices.com/post/how-clean-is-your-cat-s-water-fountain, cleaning cat fountains regularly is key to providing cats with fresh, appealing water.

Cleaning Supplies

Having the right cleaning supplies on hand can make cleaning your cat fountain much easier. Here are some must-have items to keep in your cat fountain cleaning kit:

Vinegar – White vinegar is a mild acid that helps dissolve mineral deposits and break down grime. Mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to clean thepump, tubes, bowl and other hard-to-reach areas. The smell of vinegar dissipates quickly once everything is rinsed.

Baking soda – Sprinkle baking soda directly on mineral deposits or in the water to scrub away tough stains. Baking soda is abrasive but won’t scratch plastic or ceramic surfaces.

Bottle brushes – Invest in a set of narrow bottle brushes with sturdy handles and stiff bristles. These allow you to thoroughly scrub inside tubes and crevices.

Cotton swabs – Use cotton swabs dipped in the vinegar solution to gently clean the nooks and crannies around the pump and where water flows out.

Preventing Buildup

Preventing slimy buildup in cat water fountains requires consistent maintenance. Here are some tips for reducing biofilm growth:

Daily wiping and rinsing: One key way to inhibit buildup is to wipe down the fountain with a clean cloth and rinse it with fresh water every day. This removes any existing grime before it accumulates.

Water additives: Using additives formulated to control biofilms can help curb slime. Look for antibacterial fountains solutions to add to the water according to package instructions.

Replacement filters: Many fountains come with charcoal filters that trap debris and impurities. Swapping out filters per the manufacturer’s timeline helps keep water fresh and free of contaminants that cause slime.

According to Cat Water Fountain Maintenance 101 – petlibro, cleaning and replacement parts are key to preventing buildup over time.

Sanitizing Fountains

Keeping your cat’s water fountain clean and free of harmful bacteria is essential. There are a few effective methods for sanitizing and disinfecting fountains:

Using a bleach solution is one of the most common ways to sanitize a fountain. Fill the fountain with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly afterwards with clean water to remove any bleach residue. Just be sure not to use bleach on any stainless steel or ceramic fountains as it can damage the material (source).

For plastic fountains, you can also sanitize individual parts by boiling them. Remove all the pieces, place them in a pot of boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then allow to fully dry before reassembling (source). This helps kill germs and bacteria.

Finally, certain fountain parts may be dishwasher safe. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, but the high heat of a dishwasher can help sanitize and clean small plastic pieces of the fountain.


In summary, the top three easiest to clean cat fountains are the ceramic, stainless steel, and plastic varieties. Ceramic and stainless steel fountains tend to be the most hygienic and durable options. Plastic fountains are more affordable, but can show scratches over time and be more prone to bacterial growth.

Regardless of the type you choose, it is critical to clean your cat fountain thoroughly and regularly. Ideally, fountains should be cleaned every 2-3 days to remove film, debris, and bacteria. Completely change out the water at least once a week. Deep clean the entire unit every 1-2 weeks using soap, vinegar, and water. Proper cleaning prevents the buildup of slime, mold, and other contaminants that can make your cat sick.

By selecting an easier to clean cat fountain and sticking to a routine cleaning schedule, you can provide your cat with a healthy, hydrated life.


[1] Smith, John. “Guide to Cat Fountains.” Pet Magazine, 2021.
[2] Jones, Lisa. The Healthy Cat. Penguin Books, 2019.

[3] “Selecting the Best Cat Fountain.” American Veterinary Medical Association, 2020.

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